Thursday, April 19, 2007

Welcome New Agent

Sometimes people in the real estate industry are viewed as cut-throat and treated like used-car-salesmen.Admittedly, I have run across agents who try to profit from the work of other agents, who lie, who try to mislead. Thankfully those are few and far between, but it's a shame when one bad apple gives everyone else a black eye!

In contrast, however, I also have the privilege of knowing some of the smartest, and most honest, moral, and ethical people around. One such acquaintance of mine just got his license with the state of Tennessee. Glen (Robert) Dean and I don't always agree on politics. We often have different views of the big, wide world. Even so, I know he will be an outstanding agent (though with another company) because he strives to be fair. It is such a pleasure for me to welcome Glen to the the real estate roller coaster! Enjoy the ride!


Open House Sunday 4-22-07

I'll be hosting an open house in Smyrna's beautiful Stonewood subdivision this Sunday, April 22 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. I hope you stop by and say hello! Here are some property details:

5416 Cliffstone
4 Bedrooms, 3 baths
Huge bonus on 2nd floor
Huge Florida/Hearth room
Master bedroom downstairs
Eat in Kitchen + formal dining room
3 Car garage
2 fireplaces
Hardwood floors, Corian counters, double ovens, master has two separate walk-in closets (one for her summer wardrobe, one for winter - haha)

Directions: I24 East to Exit 70 (Almaville Rd.) Turn right and go approximately 4 miles then right into Stonewood subdivision. Left on Woodcliff (first street after entering subdivision), then right on Cliffstone. Home on right near end.

Now for some photos!

Beautiful treed lot on almost a half acre. All brick home!

This is photo of hearth room / sunroom. You can see the kitchen looks onto this extra space.

Then we have the second fireplace in the formal living room.

Note the double stainless steel ovens, gorgeous hardwood floor and bay window in the breakfast nook!

Hope to see you on Sunday!

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Disciplinary Action - Oh My.

Licensed agents in Tennessee get a quarterly newsletter from the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, a part of the state's Department of Commerce and Insurance. If you don't think agents are regulated, here are some of the most recent disciplinary actions taken by the commission. I've left off names, but am including the violations and fines:
  1. Revoked license and assessed a civil penalty of $30,000 for improper, fraudulent or dishonest dealing. (two more like this at $10,000 each)
  2. Assessed civil penalty of $1,000 for *failure to exercise reasonable skill and care.
  3. Assessed civil penalty of $1,000 for failure to timely submit an offer.
  4. Firm assessed civil penalty of $750 for *failure to notify TREC of the change of a firm address.
  5. Assessed civil penalty of $250 for *failure to timely deposit escrow money.
  6. Assessed civil penalty of $250 for an *advertising violation.
  7. Assessed civil penalty of $500 for *failure to properly disburse escrow funds.
  8. Assessed civil penalty of $250 for misleading advertising and failure to exercise reasonable skill and care. (several of these advertising problems)
  9. Firm assessed civil penalty of $8,000 for paying unlicensed affiliates.
  10. Assessed civil penalty of $1,000 for failure to include all terms and conditions in a contract.
  11. XXX license suspended for one year for misrepresentation on his application for licensure.
  12. Assessed civil penalty of $1,000 for failure to answer a complaint.
  13. Assessed civil penalty of $2,500 for *failure to timely complete education.
  14. Assessed civil penalty of $2,500 for *failure to exercise adequate supervision.
  15. Assessed civil penalty of $250 for failure to timely complete administrative measures.
* Multiple reports of disciplinary action on these violations.

So don't think for a second that we aren't very careful about working with honesty and integrity. Besides it being a moral, ethical, and legal prerogative, we do know that Big Brother is watching us!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mortgage Help May be Coming

The big players in the mortgage business, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may be gearing up to help home owners in distress due to possible foreclosure, according to news today via According to the article:
Richard Syron, Freddie Mac's chairman and chief executive, said the company is "working on a major effort to develop more consumer-friendly subprime products that will provide stable financing alternatives going forward," which are expected to be available by midsummer.
30-year mortgages are already commonplace, but growth is expected in 40-year mortgages. Because these mortgages are longer-term, buyers will pay more interest, but monthly payments would be expected to go down.

In other news, the housing market economic outlook is being called "modest" by forecasters. According to CNN,
The South, which accounts for about half the nation's home building, showed a 3 percent decline [in housing starts], and building fell nearly 8 percent in both the Northeast and West.
But according to the same article, the National Association of Home Builders predicts the housing market to stagger along,
The glut of new homes for sale on the market has slammed sales and profits of the nation's major builders.
On a personal note, the market does seem to be picking up after what has been my longest dry-spell since I initially got my real estate license. For that I am very thankful! I'm always available as a full-time agent to help you with any of your real estate needs. I also appreciate any referral business you can send!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Open House this Sunday

I'm helping an agent in my office out this Sunday by hosting an open house on one of her listings. If you're in the housing market or you know someone who is, please stop by 302 Davids Way between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. It's a beautiful home with lots of upgrades! There are so many lovely places to live in La Vergne and this one is definitely one of them! Some photos:

Notice the privacy fence in the back, all brick (with some wood), level yard, two car garage.

I love this living room. Neutral colors, fireplace, bright.

Here's the real winner... this kitchen with the black appliances is very pretty. I like having a pantry (see to the right of the stove) ... very nice.

A formal dining room is huge!

PLUS a breakfast nook.

PLUS a bonus room!

(See, I told you this house is beautiful!)

Finally, a view of the back yard!

Come by and say hello! And don't forget about the lender I know whose company is offering $5,000 toward closing costs (while supply lasts - probably mid-May). I received a phone call earlier this week about this offer, but never heard back from the caller. Let me know if you want more info because this won't last long.

And for your added info, here's a quick guesstimate... to buy a home for $110,000, your payment would be around $785 p/month (includes tax and insurance). So to buy a home for $200,000, it would be around $1400'ish. And there are plenty of other homes out there! Right now, we have 381 homes on the market in La Vergne. Lowest price is $31,500 on Old Jefferson Pike and the highest is $485,900 in Hampton Estates.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Straw" Mortgages = Bad Bad News

A new scheme, or perhaps not so new, is out there that fraudulently misleads lenders, buyers and sellers. It's called a "Straw Mortgage" and can work several ways. For example, Blanche Evans of Realty Times listed these (along with others) in a recent article:
  • induce appraisers to inflate property values in order to obtain a larger mortgage loan for the "straw borrower."
  • submit bogus invoices for phantom "upgrades" or "renovations" that falsely inflate the value of the property. This allows the fraudster, "straw borrower," or "investor" to obtain a larger mortgage.
Typically, a straw buyer is someone whose identity is concealed, according to columnist Broderick Perkins. He has another interesting article about how to recognize and avoid fraud.

And right here in our own backyard, a national ringleader was caught in Nashville for mortgage fraud. He's squealing on the people who helped him, so expect a lot of headlines about this. Read about what he did and how he did it from The Tennessean here.

Finally, here's a first-hand example of what happened to a California builder. May the buyer beware.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Condo Communities Hit by Mortgage Probs

Condominium communities traditionally charge community fees ranging from $25 to well over $200 p/month for maintenance, lawn work, and more. But according to today's Tennessean, condo associations are feeling the crunch caused by subprime loans because owners are unable to pay the monthly charges. As a result, they are dipping into reserve funds to pay for new roofs and other services offered by the associations.

Read about the problem in the article here.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bob Parks in The Tennessean

Here's an interesting article that was published in Sunday's Tennessean about Bob Parks. Mr. Parks created a very wonderful environment for agents to work in. We prefer working with people who know and trust us to total strangers. However, if you feel you've come to know me from my various online blogging, I'd love to meet you, your family, or friends and help you buy or sell a home! Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Real Estate IS like a Roller Coaster

I found this on and reposted it at Shak and Jill, but also had to post it here. It's the U.S. housing market from the 1800s to today graphed out and created as a roller coaster. I swear the first time I watched it, my heart was pounding. But that's because roller coasters scare the bejeezus out of me. If the video doesn't load automatically, click here.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go...

I've been reading conflicting stories online about whether the market is improving or whether it's going down the toilet. I'm going to holler about how great it is!

Okay, first was an article on that says this spring is the season for reckoning for the real estate market. It's the pivotal time on the market where we figure out if housing sales are going to be strong or weak because spring is typically when homes hit the market and start selling selling selling. The article talks about how some of the big boy dominoes in the lending industry are falling: from Lennar yesterday to Countrywide last week to New Century Financial Corp today. (I think if it wasn't so sad, the first from the Boston Herald today that says "Call it the March Madness of Mortgages" would be funny.)

Then we go to this headline from Stocks fueled by easing oil: Strong pending home sales report also supports Dow and S&P 500. Another article says that Pending home sales index in surprise rise!

This article says that homes set to close (or pending) are way up! I definitely want to hang my hat on this report for a while! From my personal experience, I can confirm the recent drought in home sales, but suddenly I'm getting extremely busy again. Let's all keep your local Realtor busy because it bodes well for the economy!

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THIS IS HUGE! Five Grand (free) Available

One of my favorite lenders came to our meeting this morning to tell us about the "Welcome Home Program" his company is sponsoring. For a limited time (probably until mid-May or when the money runs out), down payment assistance up to $5,000 will be available for buyers. A buyer would, of course, still have a passable credit score and there are a couple more requirements:
  • The borrower must owner occupy the home (no investors for renting)
  • Homebuyer education required for first-time homebuyers
  • A portion of the grant may have to be paid back if the home is sold or refinanced in the first five years (ask mortgage consultant for details) (the lender told us this was R.A.R.E.)
  • The borrowers' annual household income cannot exceed $49,280
  • The borrower must have an investment of at least $500 in the transaction (and up to $300 can be a "gift" from a family member)
  • The $500 investment required is waived if the borrower is disabled
  • First come, first served basis - extremely limited.
If you are one iota interested in this, pick up the phone and call immediately because the free five grand won't be around long. I can be reached at (615) 491-2161 and my office number is (615) 459-4040 (ask for Kathy T.).


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